Russian fires put haze over the Bulkley Valley

Despite the haze above the Bulkley Valley, today's air quality is still within the B.C. Ministry of Environment's 24-hour objectives.

Despite the haze in the air and red tinge to the snow on the mountains, air quality in the Bulkley Valley is still within B.C. Ministry of Environment 24 hr objectives.

“We’re still at acceptable levels, we don’t need to be issuing an advisory right now,” Ministry of Environment, Skeena Region, meteorologist Ben Weinstein said.

“My feeling is that it’s worse at higher elevations,” Weinstein added.

The smoke originates from fires in Russia.

The current reading for PM10 particles is 45.8 micrograms/cubic metre, with a 24-hr average of 35.5.  The PM10 objective is a 24-hr average of 50 micrograms/cubic metre.

For PM2.5 particles, which pose a greater health risk, the current reading is 18.5, with a 24-hr average of 13.8.  The Ministry of Environment objective for PM 2.5 particulate is 25 micrograms per cubic metre.

Weinstein is unsure how long the current conditions would last as they depend on fire activity in Russia, high altitude wind currents across the ocean and local weather conditions as well.

“It’s looking to stick around for a little while,” Weinstein said.

“The only thing that could help is if there’s any precipitation.”

Environment Canada has forecast the potential for thunderstorms Thursday afternoon and evening. Barring that, rain isn’t in the forecast until Monday.

Not helping matters, Weinstein said, is the Town of Smithers laying down sand to fix cracks in the roads.

“There’s a contribution from that for sure,” Weinstein said, referring to the particulate matter readings.

For more information on air quality standards and readings visit www.bcairquality.ca